Using Windows Symbolic Links (symlinks) to avoid duplicating source document files?


In organizing source documents into a directory structure, whether based on individuals, families or locations, very often one document will refer to several people or places.

One way is to simply duplicate the files in each directory. When working under Linux, there are symlinks and for recent editions of Windows, a similar concept has been implemented - soft & hard symlinks.

Is anyone using these and can share the pros & cons?


Posted 2014-12-19T18:22:02.743

Reputation: 101

Why not store it on a cloud storage program such as Dropbox or Google Drive, as to not loose the documents in the future. I did used to have everything stored on a harddrive, and symlinked folders on my computer. When the drive path changed (From D to F) because of having other harddrives plugged in it ruined all my symlinks – Mike – 2016-01-14T14:10:18.953


There's a related question on How should I organise my digital documents? which might be of interest. I only touched on using links in Scrivener in my answer, not on using Windows shortcuts in the main folder system. I think this question is sufficiently different from the previous one that it deserves fresh answers.

– Jan Murphy – 2014-12-19T19:08:33.020


For those (like me) who had not heard of symlinks, there's a good introduction here: ( is very good).

– user3310902 – 2014-12-19T19:17:32.263



I store everything by date, and if there is none, by title. If ind it doesn't matter much. I add the link to the associated source in my genealogy database and then reference that source from all applicable claims and events for all persons. My website generator links up all those files/documents/images/etc. When I need to find the actual file to view it etc., I just go to the source and click on it. If I need to find which folder it resides in, I check the link in the source.


Posted 2014-12-19T18:22:02.743

Reputation: 551